Plan Your Days (and Nights!) Around the New York Film Festival

The 57th NYFF is going to be one for the ages. Here’s what to do and where to go to make the most of it.

Photo courtesy of New York Film Festival/Facebook

Your calendar told you that fall began on September 23, but your calendar is a liar. (OK, sure, technically it did start then, but hear us out.) For New Yorkers of a certain cultural persuasion, the season really, truly arrives with the New York Film Festival.

And perhaps more than any NYFF in the past, this year’s celebration of light and magic has some major bangs. How banging we talking? Aside from new releases from Martin Scorsese, Noah Baumbach, and Pedro Almodóvar, the 57th edition has thrillers from South Korea and Brazil, tragic love stories from Senegal and France, and neo-noirs from Romania and China—and we haven’t even touched on all the documentaries, digitally remastered classics, and essential experimental narratives! Head to Lincoln Center to see some of our fave flicks from now through October 13, or perhaps make a whole day out of it with our inspired recs around town. 

Sail the Atlantics

Having already earned raves at Cannes earlier this year, French filmmaker Mati Diop’s melancholic feature debut touches on first love and escapism through the eyes of a repressed young woman living in Dakar. Unlike other dramas, though, there’s a twist: Residents of this Senegalese seaside town are being possessed by ghosts when night falls, wreaking minor havoc along the way. Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway (at West 65th Street); Wednesday, October 9 and Thursday, October 10
Afterward, eat: One of Senegal’s most prominent dishes, thiebou djeun (aka fish and rice), at Harlem’s Pikine.

Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center
Power to the Bacurau

A strange series of events unfold in the remote Brazilian village of Bacurau, beginning with its community vanishing from the map and culminating with one of the most memorable shoot-outs in recent cinematic history. Blending a multitude of genres together (predominantly sci-fi, spaghetti Western, and slasher flick) into one darkly funny package, codirectors Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles create a world where bloodthirsty people in power try to knock down the lower class and the resistance that they’re inevitably met with. Walter Reade Theatre, 165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue); Tuesday, October 1 and Wednesday, October 2
Beforehand, drink: Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha, during Samba Kitchen Bar’s happy hour.

Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center
The Story of the First Cow

Kelly Reichardt is a master at directing quiet, minimalist tales of the American Dream, and her latest—a loose adaptation of Jonathan Raymond’s 2004 novel, The Half-Life—is no different. Set in the Pacific Northwest during the 19th century, we follow the blossoming friendship between two outsiders and the dreams they want to seize as a pair. Most important, as the title implies, there’s plenty of drama revolving around a regal milking cow. Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway (at West 65th Street); Thursday, October 3
Afterward, eat: A pivotal dish from the flick—the humble clafoutis—at one of the city’s best bistros, Frenchette.

Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center
Goodfellas Reunite in The Irishman

It took more than two decades for Martin Scorsese to direct this raw masterpiece about gangster life in postwar America, but the wait was clearly worthwhile. The director’s greatest muses (Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci) play notorious dons Frank Sheeran and Russell Bufalino, respectively, while Al Pacino makes his Scorsese debut as the notorious Jimmy Hoffa. Audiences agree that the sprawling saga flies quicker than its 3.5-hour run time, but we recommend ordering a big popcorn tub for this one. Walter Reade Theatre, 165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue); Sunday, October 13
Beforehand, head to: Ridgewood’s Porcelain, a new Austrian café whose interior was used as a location!

Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center
Inequality Is a Parasite

South Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s latest psychological minefield could well be the most terrifying movie you will see this year. Described as a social-realist Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the film follows an impoverished family that schemes, swindles, and infiltrates their way to the upper crust through shameless—and occasionally homicidal—means. In other words, this is a masterpiece for the age of the grifter. Alice Tully Hall, 1941 Broadway (at West 65th Street); Saturday, October 5 and Monday, October 7
Afterward, immerse: In all things South Korean in one of our favorite Manhattan neighborhoods, K-town.

Photo courtesy of Film at Lincoln Center
Sparkling Uncut Gems

Just announced as this year’s “secret” screening is Uncut Gems, the Safdie Brothers’ much-anticipated follow-up to 2017’s Good Time. This A24-produced crime thriller has it all: Adam Sandler as a jeweler from hell! Former NBA forward Kevin Garnett! Blinged-out Furbies! A New York City backdrop to die for—and maybe literally! We, for one, cannot wait for all of the above. Walter Reade Theatre,165 West 65th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue); Thursday, October 3 and Saturday, October 12
Beforehand, eat: High-roller lobster and fettuccine at one of our favorite places around the block from the Diamond District, Nino’s 46.

Photo courtesy of A24/Facebook

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